More and more travelers this summer are sharing that sinking feeling of seeing the baggage carousel go around and around at the airport while their luggage fails to materialize.
Pictures have proliferated on social media of misplaced luggage piled up at airports around the world — from Dublin to Washington and Toronto — as frustrated travelers wonder where their bathing suit and underwear went.
NBC News aviation correspondent Tom Costello shared an important tip on TODAY Tuesday about how you can save yourself the headache of wondering where your luggage went if you encounter that predicament.
Travel experts suggest dropping an Apple key tag or tracker inside your luggage so you can follow its whereabouts on your cell phone.
The situation is particularly critical in Europe, where many airlines and airports do not have the staff to handle the surge in passengers and their bags. It reached the point in London that Delta Airlines flew a plane loaded with 1,000 bags and no passengers to Detroit after having to cancel the flight for passengers due to restrictions at London's Heathrow Airport.
Traveler Katie Hermann had her own nightmare when she flew on Aer Lingus from Washington, D.C., through Dublin to Glasgow on July 2 in advance of her wedding. Her checked bag with all of her clothes never arrived, although she thankfully hand-carried her wedding dress on to the plane.
"I’m getting no updates," Hermann said on TODAY Tuesday. "It’s been over two weeks. The status of my online form has not changed. So I really have no clue where my bag is this long later.”
Weather can also play a role in luggage getting misplaced. Costello shared that his flight to Denver last week was diverted to Cheyenne, Wyoming, because of dangerous wind shear in Denver that forced the pilot to abort the landing.
After refueling, the plane was too heavy to take off from Cheyenne, so all of the checked bags had to be removed from the aircraft and bused to Denver.
In addition to putting a tracker in your bag, travel experts also have some extra tips:
- Avoid checking bags if you can and travel with carry-on bags.
- Put IDs inside and outside your bag.
- Take photos of your luggage in case it gets lost.
- Follow your bag's progress on the airline's app.
- Remember that you can be due up to $3,800 from the airline for lost luggage on domestic flights, but airlines may want to see receipts for the items lost.
- Bags are usually not gone forever, they are just misplaced and eventually do get to you.